County to help local builders by waving impact fees

by April 3, 2008 • 3 comments

Impact fees, highly opposed by the building community when set in place in 2005 in Bay County, were all but eliminated this week. The fees that are associated with fire protection, parks and the library needs were cut in half and the transportation impact fees were dropped all together for the next 18 months. Not all commissioners agreed, but developers were happy.

On the Burnie Thompson show on Talk Radio 101 yesterday morning, this issue was discussed with Daryl Day of Dayco Construction and a couple of callers that disagreed with the impact fee reduction. More after the break.

One of the callers said he was concerned that the local facilities and infrastructure improvements and the building of new facilities and infrastructure would be sacrificed. Daryl reminded the caller that before 2005, all of these costs were covered by Ad Velorem taxes, in addition, all the new homes that came on the tax rolls in the last two years are assessed at full value, not protected by a 3% cap for the last x number of years. In other words, there is revenue being generated to cover these costs.

The same caller also said that as we should not be bailing out the mortgage/financial markets because they were lending when they should not have been lending and the tax-payer should not have to bail out the developers when they should not have been building or hiring as much as they were building and hiring.

This point isn’t even relevant. When business is good and a product is selling, you make more of the product to hopefully increase revenue/profit. If the demand continues to rise, so does the price. It is the American way to run a business and sell a product and price that product based on consumer demand, regardless of cost to produce. Demand in most markets come and go, and without a crystal ball, I don’t see how anyone can dictate when to slow production and when to speed up production based on what the future anticipated demand would be. I’m sure business owners everywhere are looking at their books and wishing they hadn’t hired that extra person or paid that extra amount to get something done quicker, but you can’t expect someone to slow down in anticipation of a market slow down.

We as Americans have a right to be in business and be successful if we have a good product or the market commands a higher price than the cost to produce.

Another caller said the developers were just being greedy, and that is why they like the impact costs being cut. This point is ridiculous also. Greedy? How is that even relevant? These fees get passed on to the buyer in the end anyway. All this does is reduce the startup costs to the developer/builder, not increase his bottom line.

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1 Phil Davis April 3, 2008 at 9:13 am

That isnt the point. The infrastructure was lacking in 2005. That is why the County initiated impact fees in the first place. Now they waive them in an election season. Knocking off 4-5 thousand dollars off the price of a home isnt solving any of the problems. These infrastructure problems dont fix themselves. Here is a fun cycle to think amount: Development cant occur without adequatte facilities and services. With inadequate facilites and services – no one can develop… Land use amendments dont get approved, homes DONT get built. Waive the fees – thats fine – but this doesnt fix ANYTHING. Any forward thinking County in Florida has significant impact fees for roads, parks, libraries, fire, police, schools. Until Bay County stops playing politics and starts getting real – we will always be a step behind.


2 Jason April 3, 2008 at 9:28 am

Good point, Phil, however in 2005 the county was not receiving revenue from the ad velorem taxes it is receiving now that is a result of new development.


3 Phil Davis April 4, 2008 at 9:05 am

The AV taxes will not support the infrastructure for the County. There is no argument for that. It is simple math. If development isnt paying for itself – chances are – that you are. If you are fine with that – then good for you. I am just tired of seeing the politicians bend over backwards for small local developers that are gonna complain about any new cost. Jeez – they used to complain about putting in sidewalks to schools. Some still do. Just look around to any other County in Florida. Without sufficients impact fees for essential services – growth will slow, traffic will worsen, people will not want to move here, and the overall economy will suffer in the long run. Kind of ironic – since cutting impact fees was supposed to HELP the economy. God forbid someone in a leadership position think about any consequences in the future.